Last year I decided that rather than entering the DPI (digital projected image) competitions at my local photography club I would enter prints.
My workflow for producing the prints was:
- Prepare image within Photoshop
- Resize the image
- Brighten the image by +10 using a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer
- Resize the canvas (4800 x 3600 for 16" x 12", 3600 x 2400 for 12" x 8")
- Save as a .PSD file
- Use Lightroom to export the PSD as a JPEG
- Send the image (JPEG file) off to be printed
- Once delivered mount the printed image
The company I use to print my images is DS Colour Labs Ltd (www.dscolourlabs.co.uk), and have always been very pleased with the results. Although the friend who recommend DS Colour Labs has recently experienced an issue with them, in that his printed images were coming back a lot darker than expected. After talking to DS Colour Labs tech support they advised him to use their supplied ICC profiles. This led me to thinking that I should be using the ICC profiles and also the whole aspect of soft proofing images before sending them off for printing.
Soft proofing is the ability to view a simulation of how your image will look when out- put to the printer on your monitor, based on the chosen profile. Ref: http://www.udel.edu/cookbook/scan-print/softproof/sofftproof.pdf
There is a lot of information available on the Net about soft proofing within Photoshop and Lightroom, telling you how to use ICC profiles and the soft proofing facilities in the applications. But what a majority don't discuss is how best to adjust your images whilst soft proofing them. One good resource that I did come across is Sean Bagshaw's YouTube video "Build A Photoshop Action For Soft Proofing" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ND_GzCueX4s) What this has done is made me re-evaluate my work flow and I am currently in the processes of testing different options. Once the testing is complete I will give an update.